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The best time to travel in Portugal

You can visit Portugal all year round. So how do you choose the right time to go there? We'll offer some advice here to help you make the most of your holiday.

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The climate in Portugal is temperate and very comfortable. So there's no ideal time of year for a trip to Portugal: temperatures are favourable all year round. All the same, it's more pleasant to travel there in Spring or Autumn. In truth, winter can be cold inland, and summer is very hot almost everywhere. To make the most of this temperate country, then, we advise you travel in mid-season. The Algarve region, the furthest South in the country, can definitely be visited all year round. It offers splendid beaches, and temperatures never fall below 10 degrees!

Head to Portugal in Spring or Autumn

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May-June or from September to November.

These are the best times of year to head to Portugal. Temperatures are favourable: it's neither too hot nor too cold. You'll be able to discover the finery of the North and Porto in their best light. It's the same for the region of Lisbon and by and large for the country as a whole: the Algarve, which you can visit all year round, Alentejo, and the centre of Portugal.

Head to Portugal in summer

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From June to August

Summer in Portugal is very hot. If you're not a fan of extreme heat, avoid this season, or at least make sure you take siestas! The advantage of summer, though, is that it's the period for traditional festivities. The centre of Portugal is slightly cooler, so you could head there in summer. The same goes for Alentejo and the Algarve.

Travelling to Portugal in Winter

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From December to February.

Winter in inland Portugal can be quite cold. But you could all the same stay in the Algarve, as the region enjoys comfortable temperatures all year round. 

The best time of year to visit Lisbon and its surroundings

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Lisbon is situated in the South of the country, and you can visit all year round, due to its temperate climate. In summer, temperatures can still climb quite high – so for an optimal climate, travel in mid-season. The magnificent old town is a must-see, and you'll be all the better able to appreciate the restaurants in the Bairro Alto quarter after a long day sightseeing in the sun. Pay a visit to the Belém quarter too. If you've chosen to travel in summer and are looking for something to refresh you, head off and discover the troglodyte grottos of Sintra: guaranteed fun for all ages, and a little cooler than elsewhere!

The best period to visit the North of Portugal

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The town of Porto is located on the Atlantic side. It benefits from a Mediterranean climate with Oceanic influeneces: very sunny, but quite humid. The historic centre of Porto, classed as a UNESCO world heritage site, is worth the detour, so all the more reason not to visit in tropical heat! We recommend Spring and Autumn, when the climate is temperate and comfortable and you can visit the Sé cathedral, the Crystal Palace and the museum of contemporary art without feeling the heat too much.

The best time of year to visit the Centre of Portugal

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In the centre of the country, temperatures are cooler. That's why you can visit this part of Portugal even in the heat of summer without feeling the heat too much. This region has a diverse terrain: mountainous, with the Serra de Estrela mountain range, but with many plains too. Here, you can visit the national forest of Buçaco, close to Coimbra, as well as the Dominican abbey of Santa Maria da Vitoria at Batalha, listed by UNESCO, practically all year round. Anyone sensitive to the cold should avoid winter, but as for the rest of the country, you can visit the Centre of Portugal at any time of year. And don't forget to visit Viseu, the capital of the region, renowned for its old town and its wines!

The best period to visit Alentejo

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We'd avoid going to Alentejo in August, because tourists tend to flock there during that period. Opt for the months of April and May if you enjoy countryside in blossom, and for September and October if you're keen to participate in the many festivals which take place then. During the months of June and July, you'll be able to enjoy the region before the most tourist-heavy month. Alentejo offers splendid marble-built towns, vineyards and plains stretching as far as the eye can see, and the inhabitants strive to continue the local arts and crafts. The cuisine is delicious, and there are many opportunities here for walking, which is particularly enjoyable in mid-season.

The best time of year to visit the Algarve

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It's a corner of paradise where it never gets cold: winter here is mild and from February onwards, almond and orange trees fill the countryside with their fragrance. In April and May, wildflowers spring up, making the scenery in the region even more beautiful. In summer, you risk coming across crowds of tourists, as the coastline of the region has been completely transformed to usher in mass tourism. But this isn't in fact the main attraction of the Algarve: rather, you should head inland, to discover historic villages and flower-covered hills. Why not go for a hike? All year round, you'll enjoy a fantastic climate.

The best time of year to join Portuguese festivities

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Portugal is a Catholic country and its inhabitants love their celebrations, particularly in the Summer period. From May onwards, students at the famous university of Coimbra celebrate the end of the university year with numerous parties, as well as concerts and exhibitions. In June, an entire day is given over to la Festa de Santo Antonio: a city-wide celebration in honour of the patron saint of Lisbon. They also celebrate St. John, with bonfires, concerts and other festivities at Porto and Braga. In July, the medieval market at Obidos hosts ten days of a classic medieval fair. Finally, in August, the music Festival do Sudoeste brings the South of the country to life.
Tiphaine Leblanc
78 contributions
Updated 4 January 2019
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